Aside from the excitement of Melodifestivalen, it’s been a weekend for catchups. Thanks to my long-term involvement in the world of ABBA fans, I’ve met some really great people over the years. I’ve also met some dickheads, but you learn to avoid them after a while. Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad. And this weekend, I caught up with two of the good ones.

Yesterday I travelled back to Norrkoping to see Cliff, an English ABBA fan who I met six years ago when he came to Australia. He was in Norrkoping to see a concert by Lisa Nilsson. Although I’d never heard of her before, she’s apparently quite good, and she was performing in Norrkoping to celebrate her twenty year career. It was amazing seeing Cliff so much slimmer than when he came to Australia all those years ago. He’s lost almost forty kilograms, thanks to a lot of personal discipline on his part. We chatted about life, the universe and everything. And it was great to see him expressing his passion for photography by taking lots of snaps.

And then today, I caught up with Gustav, who I realised I’ve known for about 15 years through the ABBAMAIL list. That’s no mean feat, since he’s only about 30 years old. We chatted through email this morning, comparing our days, and organised to meet near where he lives at Nacka Strand. Over a cup of tea we chatted at his place about life, the universe and everything. He had mentioned earlier in the day he had a commitment at five o’clock, which I assumed, being a Sunday, was a family dinner or something like that. After chatting for a while he revealed the commitment was a performance and signing by Swedish singer, Nanne Gronvall.

I’d seen her at the Melodifestivalen dress rehearsal on Friday night, I saw her last night at the Paradise Schlager Party, and I saw her again today at Gustav’s local shopping centre. She sang four songs and signed lots of autographs. And kindly, she agreed to my request for a photogtraph.

So yeah, it’s been a lovely weekend. Chatting to my friend Sue on the phone earlier today, I mentioned how much I had been enjoying this trip. “I thought coming back to Sweden might, in fact, get some of this ‘Swedish thing’ out of my system”, I told her. “In fact, it’s done the opposite. I really love this place and the experiences I have when I’m here”.

Tonight’s a night in. I need to proof-read my paper for the conference and make sure the timing is okay.

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